Ravnica is a plane of existence that is dominated by a sprawling, magical, steam-punk city and ten guilds locked in a cold war for dominance and power. This city and its lore originated from the trading card game made by Wizards of the Coast called Magic: The Gathering. Its had several card sets and a trilogy of novels. Wizards of the Coast is the same company that produces Dungeons & Dragons and now, the two worlds collide at last.
The Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica is an expansion book for D&D that details the Ravnica setting, and provides the means for players to have an adventure within the world and within its guilds. So, just who and what are these guilds? Here are brief descriptions of Ravnica’s ten guilds.
10 Azorius Senate
Art By: SpuriusAntonius
The Azorius Senate acts as the law and government of Ravnica in a very similar way to real-world governments, in the form of three columns. The Sova Column is essentially the judicial branch; judges run courts as advocates and prosecutors try the cases of those accused of breaking the law. The Jelenn Column is staffed with legislators who write the laws, while the Lyev Column consists of arresters, investigators, and officers who enforce the laws and apprehend those who break them.
Supreme Judge Isperia, a wise and powerful sphinx, leads this guild as well as passes down judgment and instructions on how the ancient laws are to be interpreted and enforced. The Azorius believe only absolute order can bring peace; even if it leans towards totalitarianism.
9 Boros Legion
Art By: Locix-ITA
The Boros look to have peace and order as well but they are guided by their internal moral compass of what is right and wrong. Lead by Aurelia, a fiery battle-angel, the Boros Legion serves as the military of Ravnica. When spats happen between guilds that could endanger the innocent public, the Boros are the first on the scene to break up the fight and ensure no one is hurt.
That isn’t to say, however, they aren’t willing to crack a few heads to advance their goals. Members of the Boros burn with a passion to rid the world of injustice and evil and they are often overcome by this in the heat of the moment.
8 House Dimir
Art By: adrius15
For centuries, this guild was little more than a rumor on the street. The House Dimir is a complex and secretive network of spies, informants, assassins, and agents that all work to infiltrate other guilds and gather information of all levels regardless of importance. It is then funneled up the chain to their guildmaster, Lazav. No one is quite sure why they are amassing all of these secrets and knowledge, not even most of the Dimir themselves.
The network is carefully and deliberately constructed on a “need to know” basis. Lazav is just as mysterious, being a known shapeshifter, no one knows what he really looks like or who he really is. All anyone knows for sure, is that their hunger for secrets is insatiable.
7 Golgari Swarm
Art By: SpuriusAntonius
The Golgari Swarm serve the same purpose in Ravnica as decay does in nature. They dwell in the deepest, darkest parts of the city, taking dead things and giving them a new purpose. Their rot farms produce nutritious slop of questionable origin to feed the starving masses so no one in the city goes hungry.
It is the Golgari’s firm belief that death, and sometimes undeath, is a natural and crucial part of nature’s cycle. Consequently, many of their ranks practice necromancy. In fact, their current guildmaster Jarad Vod Savo uses such magic to make himself a lich; an immortal undead being. For now, they are content with their roles but eagerly await the day when the civilization above inevitably dies and rots away.
6 Gruul Clans
Art By: Locix-ITA
To describe the Gruul Clans as a guild is something of a hot topic in Ravnica, as there are so many different clans and many of them refuse to unite with each other and often war with one another. However, something all Gruul can agree on is that the city itself must be destroyed utterly and completely.
Looking to return Ravnica to a simpler and primitive time, the Gruul hate the towering buildings and technological advancements evident in the city. Their leader Borborygmos is known for working them into raging, riotous fits that always end in violence and destruction. The Clans are scattered amongst the small pockets of wilderness that remain on the plane and often raid the city limits to destroy as much as possible.
5 Izzet League
Art By: DrDraze
The Izzet League is responsible for the blend of magic and technology that pervades the city of Ravnica, creating a limitless blend of fantasy and steam-punk. The Izzet was founded by a red dragon named Niv-Mizzet and he continues to lead it to this day. He determines what the mages and scientists study, research, and investigate.
While they are often told what to be looking into, the members of the Izzet League are rarely told how to accomplish it. They tackle their research with reckless zeal and thus the guild is just as famous for their catastrophic failures as they are for their contributions.
4 Orzhov Syndicate
Art By: Yongjae Choi
The Orzhov Syndicate, otherwise known as The Church of Deals, serves two functions in the city: The central religion and the central bank. These two things are almost hopelessly tangled together and if you enter an Orzhov building for one of them, you’ll most likely walk out mixed up in the other.
Both concepts are just a cover for a criminal organization whose upper members are consumed by greed and delight in exploiting those below them. Lead by a council of ancient spirits known as the Obzedat, these gluttonous spirits encourage the behavior of their guild, laughing in the face of the old adage, “You can’t take it all with you.”
3 Cult Of Rakdos
Art By: SpuriusAntonius
Sadism and hedonism are the two guiding principles of the Cult of Rakdos; fulfill your deepest desires however you want and do it in the most selfish, cruel way possible. This all to please the demon lord Rakdos who founded the cult. An utter megalomaniac with a passion for showmanship, Rakdos was allowed to remain in Ravnica with the purpose of providing the city with entertainment. He and his circuses of performers certainly do not disappoint.
They run seedy clubs that offer vices of all kinds while performers showcase deadly acts that are rarely death-defying. These folks embrace the darkest parts of passion and chaos and put them on display for all to see and revel in.
2 Selesnya Conclave
Art By: Dimitar Marinski
The Selesnya Conclave have three virtues that they strive to embody and spread throughout Ravnica: Life, Harmony, and Order. These virtues are also embodied in the three dryads forming one entity to serve as their leader, Trostani. Trostani then communes with the ancient spirit Mat'Selesnya, the Worldsoul. She then delivers this message to the rest of the Conclave to guide them through times of strife and conflict.
The Conclave is a religious institution with camps set up all throughout Ravnica that tend to nature. They preach harmony between nature and civilization and from that balance, peace will come. However, they are not content to sit idly by and pray for this outcome. The Selesyna has a disciplined military force that is dedicated to protecting its compounds and ideals.
1 Simic Combine
Originally tasked with tending to the health of Ravnica’s people, the scientists and biomancers of the Simic Combine have taken a proactive approach to this issue by looking for the perfect combination of creatures. Something that never takes ill, is powerful, and superior in all ways. This attitude of perfecting nature represents the guild's first core principle, Upwelling.
However, they realize the danger of this and thus have a second guiding principle, Holdfast. Holdfast warns that while their quest for perfection needs to be upheld, they must never pervert nature and lose sight of it. The current leader of the Combine is Prime Speaker Zegana and she encourages her researchers to uphold the Holdfast principle, letting nature show them the way to accomplish their goals.